Cartier - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII Geneva Friday, November 3, 2023 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Cartier
    Year: 1929
    Case No: 21946, 04854, 27670 and 5121
    Model Name: Louis Cartier Tank
    Material: Platinum
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 9''', 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Platinum Cartier bracelet, max length 185mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Platinum and pink gold Cartier deployant clasp numbered 9155
    Dimensions: 23mm Width and 30.7mm Length
    Signed: Case and dial signed, movement signed European Watch & Clock Co, case and clasp numbered

  • Catalogue Essay

    Cartier: The jeweler of kings and the king of jewelers. There are few names in the world of high watchmaking and high jewelry that attract admiration more so than Cartier. Founded by Louis-François Cartier in Paris in 1847, the legendary firm, from its beginnings, has been associated with exquisite craftsmanship and classic, sophisticated elegance. Their clientele is a Who’s Who in the world of fashion, politics, and society, with names like Wallace Simpson, Princess Grace of Monaco, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Andy Warhol, and even Formula 1 superstar, Ayrton Senna. In 1904, Cartier created the world’s first men’s wristwatch to incorporate integrated lugs for the renowned aviator, Alberto Santos Dumont. Following up on the success of this early timepiece, Cartier realized the Baignoire and Tortue in 1912, and in 1917, the revolutionary “Tank”. Designed near the end of World War I, the inspiration for the Tank’s groundbreaking design came from the top view of the very first Renault military tank vehicle deployed that same year.

    The Louis Cartier was originally developed in 1922 under the name "Tank, Bords Arrondis" and was eventually changed to "Louis Cartier" a few years later. During the 1920s, Cartier made approximately 45 platinum "Louis Cartier" tank watches. Around a dozen of these Tanks were made of more that one type of precious metal (ie platinum with a gold caseback), and the remaining were crafted entirely of platinum (apart from the screws). The present watch, cased in platinum was made in 1929 is an exceptional specimen with a thick rice grain bracelet. Records show that the present watch was delivered with a bracelet. The movement is signed European Watch Clock and Co, which is correct for Cartier Paris wristwatches, and records show the timepiece was eventually sold in Cartier London - this is further confirmed by the two dots flanking the outside case number, which is a sign the watch was retailed in London. French hallmarks are also found on the outside caseback.

  • Artist Biography



    With the Constitution of 1848 came a new standard for luxury in France. Founded one year prior by Louis-Francois Cartier, the house of Cartier was one of the first to use platinum in jewelry making. This incredibly expensive material became the stepping-stone for Cartier to experiment in form, mechanisms and attitude. It helped men move from pocket watches to wristwatches, effectively making the watch much more functional and prominent in a man's overall wardrobe.

    Cartier did not only touch on functionality. Inspired by a commissioned painting by George Barbier featuring a black panther at the feet of an elegantly bejeweled woman, Cartier began incorporating wild animals in his designs—most notably, Cartier Panthère rings, bangle bracelets and watches. Yet it wasn't until the late 1960s that the house of Cartier debuted their iconic yellow and rose gold LOVE collection, which includes the famous bracelet that only a special screwdriver can open. 

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An attractive and rare platinum wristwatch with bracelet, sold by Cartier London

23mm Width and 30.7mm Length
Case and dial signed, movement signed European Watch & Clock Co, case and clasp numbered

CHF50,000 - 100,000 

Sold for CHF177,800

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Deputy Chairman, Watches, Head of Watches, Europe, and Middle East

+41 79 637 17 24

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva

+41 79 460 55 88


The Geneva Watch Auction: XVIII

Geneva Auction 3 - 4 November 2023